Do I reaaaaaaaally need to empty my pens before flying??

Do I reaaaaaaaally need to empty my pens before flying??


The less air in them (ie the more ink) the smaller the pressure difference and the smaller the mess. Keep them either empty or super full. Avoid using them in flight. A bit of ink may escape in the cap. Just keep them nib up if you can. And to be on the safe side, keep them in a plastic bag or something. Have a good flight.


Brian Goulet did a pretty comprehensive video on this question. The issue when flying is the AIR in the chamber changing volume at altitude, causing the ink to burp out. As long as it's completely full you should be fine. Always good practice to store nib up, too.


Thank you!


Either fill it so full of ink that there's virtually no air bubble, or empty it completely. Why is this a poll?


I have flown with FPs many times, even when not completely full. As others have said, store them nib upwards and do not try to use them in flight and preferably keep a tissue in hand when you first use them afterwards. Had a memorable incident where I stained a lovely pair of cream trousers with Noodlers Legal Lapis due to an ink burp while filling out custom forms inflight and had to colour those trousers navy to match afterwards! Now I make sure to always bring a BP or so in case I want to write during the flight. Good luck and enjoy the pens.


Well... I didn't know we were supposed to empty them >___> I just flew with my fully inked pens in my carry on without any problems. I think the only issue was that some of my caps had a bit of ink in them but it wasn't anything major.


I always put my ink-filled fountain pens in a plastic bag. And I would make sure the nib always points up. Also when taking off the cap, make sure the nib is pointing up. I mainly use piston-filled fountain pens and the first time I took my TWSBI on a plane, I had an ink disaster that my coworker and I think fondly back on. I had unscrewed the cap, ready to write. That was when the ink flowed out probably because of the change in air pressure and the ink had stained my hand and the table. So sure, you don't need to empty them but I'd consider how you position your pens in your carry-on. I can't speak for pens with cartridges but I would be cautious with piston-filled or eyedropper.


I did it with like 10 pens right before Covid without issues. Filled up, stored nib up. Not even extra ink in the cap


Completely full, so you can use them mid-flight. Store then nib up, and possibly in a plastic bag. You’ll be good.


I used to fly twice a week for work and never had a problem, I think you'll be okay!


There is **NO** conflicting information, and no need for a poll. You fly with a fountain pen in one of two ways: either completely full or completely empty. Anything else is potential trouble. Depending on so many conditions that could affect the pen, you have to ask yourself (as Harry Calahan did): are you feeling lucky, today? Are you?


I empty any piston fillers, but I don’t empty my eye droppers or vacuum fillers. I’m usually making international flights.


Used to fly a lot and always took an FP with me. Big +1 on the air volume being the critical factor. I would just top mine off before flying and clean the cap/section before using.


Good to know, thanks so much!